Week three has been fun as well as easy. The biggest adjustment to our previous routine has been getting used to shopping every two to three days instead of approximately once a week. We have shopped like this before but the biggest difference now is that my favorite grocery store is not the closest store to us. We pass three other major grocery stores as well as a Whole Foods, another small specialty grocer and a fantastic butcher on the way to my favorite store.
My favorite grocery store is Harmons. A family owned, regional chain. Good selection, very clean and great produce and a full serve butcher. Their produce is the main reason I shop there. The distance will eventually prove to be expensive on gas and travel if that is the only place I shop so I am starting to plan my shopping trips according to what I am buying. If I am buying produce, then it makes sense to do all that days the shopping at Harmons. If I only need a few items, like say milk or a package of pasta, I need to hit the closer stores. Just little adjustments to get the most efficiency out of this year and our budget.
This week I had little reason to eat anywhere else so the old temptations to eat out or hit fast food at lunch just weren’t there. We worked mostly from our home office and did not need to go out so there was no desire to eat out because we were already out. The only exception was a catered dinner at an awards banquet where myself, my wife and my daughter, as well as several other people were honored for our years of service to the Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources. We had already decided that events like this did not count as “Eating Out” as these are social functions we needed to attend regardless of dinner being served.
This weeks menu included: Pasta Shells stuffed with sausage and Ricotta cheese. Cold Tuscan Chicken Salad with Pita Bread. Chili (Canned) over Potatoes and Broccoli. Corndogs and Tater Tots (frozen). Pork Cutlets and roasted veggies. Finished with Polynesian Chicken, BBQ Brisket and side dishes catered by The Goodwood BBQ Co. of Draper, Utah at the banquet. They did a great job as usual. I will try to denote in parenthesis where I use canned or frozen items instead of fresh or homemade this year.
The highlight of the week was over the course of two days, turning eight pounds of beef marrow bones and five pounds of cheap shoulder roast into three quarts of delectable beef stock. It is the dead of winter and I am yearning for some great French Onion Soup. The foundation of a great soup is a great stock and nothing beats making it yourself. It is expensive, it is tedious and it is worth every bit of effort. Stock like this is one of the reasons I admonish everyone to attend Culinary School. If you attend a single class or an entire certification program, it will make a life long difference in your cooking.
The great chef Antoine Escoffier (1846-1935) said that when making beef stock, “The meat will have no further culinary value” meaning that you have extracted every bit of flavor out of the meat and reduced it into the stock. The result are cubes of leftover beef almost totally devoid of any flavor. These can be left in the refrigerator and used as dog treats. I would not recommend overfeeding them to dogs but there is no harm in one a day for a healthy dog.
Thanks for joining me this week and please subscribe and share. I think you will enjoy following my adventure this year. John.